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6 Places You Wouldn't Have Recognized 30 Years Ago

Condé Nast Traveler Logo By CNT Editors of Condé Nast Traveler | Slide 1 of 7: <p>Iceland's reputation over the past two centuries has been that of a remote island with harsh, inhospitable terrain. Jules Verne portrayed it as the desolate entrance to the center of the earth in his eponymous 1864 novel, and in the 1960s, astronauts trained there because NASA considered the barren landscape comparable to the moon. Yet in the past few years, Iceland has been everywhere—from <a href="https://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-04-10/virtual-tour-filming-locations-game-of-thrones-season-5?mbid=synd_msn_rss">Game of Thrones</a> and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty to friends on Instagram fawning over the <a href="https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2016-01-20/tourist-trap-or-must-see-debating-icelands-blue-lagoon?mbid=synd_msn_rss">Blue Lagoon</a> and the <a href="https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2011-11-07/best-places-to-stay-to-see-the-northern-lights?mbid=synd_msn_rss">Northern Lights</a>. All give credit to a vibrant music scene and innovative stopover program. —Tyler Moss</p><p><strong>Read more:</strong> <a href="https://www.cntraveler.com/story/how-iceland-went-from-astronaut-training-site-to-tourist-destination?mbid=synd_msn_rss">How Iceland Went from Astronaut Training Site to Tourist Destination</a></p>

In celebration of Condé Nast Traveler's 30th anniversary, we decided to look at some of today's most popular destinations and what makes them so. We don't use the world "cool" lightly—but these places actually deserve it. They weren't always thriving: Berlin has come a long way since the fall of the Wall; the same can be said for Medellín, Colombia, once nicknamed the “murder capital of the world.” Other places have boomed thanks to airline stopover programs and off-the-beaten-path appeal. Regardless, all have changed—in a big way—in the past three decades. Here are six places around the world you wouldn't have recognized 30 years ago.

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